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AMOR MUNDI Multispecies Ecological Worldmaking Lab presents: “anthroposcenes: Historicizing Colonial Landscapes and Seascapes in the Pacific World”—A Talk by Environmental Historian Gregory T. Cushman, and Roundtable Speaker Discussion with CHamuro Poet & Scholar Craig Santos Perez & Multispecies Anthropocene Scholar Maya Kóvskaya, moderated by Mon Researcher Myint Than, with Audience Q&A.
Thursday, 1 December 2022
11 AM-1 PM (ICT) INDOCHINA Time / GMT+7/ UTC+7
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From the time that humans first set foot on its shores, the Pacific World has had colonial landscapes and seascapes. Pictorial maps have been central to the modern history of representation and conception of this vast region, and they provide a vivid chronicle of colonialist ideologies in action and their contributions to environmental change, aspects of which long predate as well as critique Euro-American penetration of the region. From a decolonial perspective, Pacific landscapes and seascapes are as notable for that which is missing, erased, or out-of-sight as that which is easily visible to the colonial gaze. This article uses pictorial maps as a guide to three key epochs of environmental history in the region: the Homogenocene, Plantationocene, and Anthropocene. If earth scientists must insist on demarcating a starting point for the ‘human epoch’ of planetary history, they should look to dramatic absences—to anti-sedimentary formations—at the heart of the Pacific World to place their golden spike, which are symbolic of the extractivism and ruthless quest for power that drives industrial capitalist civilization.
GREGORY T. CUSHMAN (He/Him)
Gregory T. Cushman joined the history faculty at the University of Arizona, USA, this past August after years at the University of Kansas. He specializes in global environmental history, Latin American history, Pacific history, and the history of science, technology, and engineering. His award-winning book Guano and the Opening of the Pacific World: A Global Ecological History (Cambridge University Press, 2013) is one of the first studies to examine the environmental and cultural history of the modern world from the perspective of the whole Pacific Basin and demonstrates how humble bird excrement changed the course of modern history. Climate change and variability are central issues in Cushman’s work, as well as the environmental engagements of Indigenous peoples in the Andean and Pacific Worlds. In 2015-17, he was the recipient of an Andrew Carnegie Fellowship.